Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breaking Barriers: "Transformation: Virtual Art on the Brink" Wins Awards & Other UWA News


Several people have asked me for the written transcript of the voice over, and at last I've edited the script I wrote so it matches what ended up in the film:

It is not surprising that much of the virtual world is modeled on what we know--physical spaces like art museums, or that art in it draws on what's come before--each new medium does that. but the best virtual art is a new kind of new media, using the particular properties of the virtual world to make metaphors manifest.

The avatar, the visual representation of the spectator, separates or connects our point of view to the avatar's position with the mobile camera, the virtual kino-eye.

When the avatar approaches Misprint Thursday's video art and music installation "Digital Glove," we only see and hear when we enter the space and turn on the media stream. This is kind of like augmented reality.

Virtual art has to stand on its own, as this piece does, but it also gives us a glimpse of augmented reality, not either virtual or physical, but layers of visual, kinetic, and haptic, interfaces overlayed on the actual world. The physical world becomes part of the interface, or vice versa, recasting the material world as another level of data to be combined with what can be seen only with some kind of device.

"The matter of ideas" by Gleman Jun uses a script to put the visitor's name in the piece, as if you were the person on the bench. It reminds us that matter in a virtual world is data. The ideas which can be realized, the metaphors manifested, are manipulated in a different way than when gravity, scarcity, and other physical limitations are involved. When we use an avatar, we position ourselves both in front of and within the virtual art, and toggle between them literally and metaphorically. Seeing the person with your name on it generate an image of itself, calls our attention to the work of art in the age of virtual reproduction.

In "Here Comes the Sun," Sledge Roffo makes a piece the spectator can not only see, but change, choosing colors, setting off sunbursts, triggering sounds. It raises the questions of whether pieces like this are interactive or reactive, and maybe that depends on whether you experience it from in front of or within it. When we play the piece, we perform it, and enter into a new relationship to the artwork, and the environment in which we experience it, as a performer.

My piece, “One and Four Timeboards” takes an imaginary prop from a film I shot in Second Life and installs it like Joseph Kosuth’s 1965 piece One and Three Chairs: the object itself, a photograph of the object where it is installed, and a definition of the word. But this is a virtual piece, so it is clickable, and yields, to the user, an unknown and unpredictable result: being teleported to a sphere above the gallery which mimics the timetravel sequences in the movie. It is meant as a moment of disruption, of instability in one’s perceptual field, and to suggest that in virtual art, there is a fourth aspect of meaning to consider: transformation.

I could click on it because nothing's gonna happen--WAIT! What? No!

Ohh, no and spinning, where is this? So familiar . . . it can't be . . . this is the time lab, but that's not a real place, it's the set I built for making machinima. and those are the other time boards, those are my avatars, my characters! OHHHHHHH!

Misprint Thursday's "Digital Glove"

One of the installations featured in the film, Misprint Thursday's "Digital Glove," took the top prize in the entire Year-long UWA 3D Open Art Challenge. Misprint is one of the artists in the exhibition I'm currently curating at LEA4, InterACT! (and she shared 5th prize with another InterACT! artist Glyph Graves), and her work is continually connecting video, music, 3D virtual art, computer mediated communication, and traditional art technique. I'm delighted "Digital Glove" was recognized because the piece is works so well on many levels--as an installation, as a video installation, as multimedia combining virtual installation, an original song with lyrics and music that make connections to the virtual and digital medium in which they were created and in which they are experienced, as a piece that uses the specific affordances and properties of the virtual world. When I was editing the footage I filmed of "Digital Glove" for "Transformation," I loved being with the piece so much that I cut a video for the entire song, and here it is:

Iono Allen's "Virtual Love" Also Wins a Machinima Prize at UWA

Virtual love also won one of the top prizes. This is an inspired film about an artwork, because of the way it both shows it and also transforms it, making a film that enters into dialogue--or dance--with the piece, rather than only documenting it. It is in that way an original piece of film art, standing (or dancing, or plunging) on its own.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

InterACT! with Mixed Reality at LEA4: 11/26/11

Tonight you can see for yourself the mixed reality performance/participatory environment that is Senses Places at InterACT! on LEA4. I've been experimenting with two of the ways of interacting with my avatar from outside of the Second Life interface: the webcam interface and the wii mote. These are not really spectator sports, but something you do and experience, but I think that when we do them together at the event on Saturday night, it might be really fun and interesting. For the wii mote, you need a mac computer (that is the platform the program you download was written for), but for the webcam, all you need is the webcam, and the HUD available at Senses Places. Instructions are at the environment, too.


WEBCAM INTERFACE --this is what it looks like in your web browser when you use the HUD in Second Life and the web interface with webcam. Only you see this on your computer, but your avatar responds to what you do.


5-7pm (PST/GMT-8)
AT InterACT! on LEA4

InterACT! art exhibition entrance SLURL: (There is a teleporter there to go up to Senses Places environment or go directly to:

Mixed Reality Participatory Performance Environment

With livestream video of performers in Portugal and Japan who will also be in SL, as well as the opportunity for you to participate in SL, with or without a mixed reality component of your own with webcam or wii mote. If you have either of those, you can manipulate your avatar from outside SL. Come over and experiment with other people who are doing that, too, and see what it's like.

Instructions and a HUD are available at the Senses Places environment,

See the LEA blog for more details.

By Butler2 Evelyn/Isabel Valverde & Toddles Lightworker/Todd Cochrane
with Anisabel/Ana Moura, Lux Nix/Clara Gomes, In Yan/Keiji Mitsubuchi, Island Habana/Yukihiko Yoshida, Jun Makime, Yumi Sagara and others

A Linden Endowment for the Arts exhibition showcasing interactive virtual art

Virtual art can invite, or even insist, that you interact with it. The artists in this exhibition cleverly and creatively make art out of interactions between data, objects, actions, and people within and beyond the virtual world in a stunning array of installations and experiences that stretch the possibilities of virtual art. Expect the unexpected, and click whenever you can. #interactLEA

Installations by:

Eupalinos Ugajin

Glyph Graves

Lorin Tone

Maya Paris

Misprint Thursday

PinkPink Sorbet

Selavy Oh

Interactive environment for audience participation & interactive mixed reality cross-cultural performances by: Butler2 Evelyn/Senses Places

With: Mesh by Sage Duncan, Machinima Mutoscope Viewers by FreeWee Ling, Twitter Garden by Frans Charming, Inner Tube Ride of Your Life by UzzU Artful

Curated by L1Aura Loire/Lori Landay, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Visual Culture & Interactive Media, Berklee College of Music

Monday, October 3, 2011

LEA 1-4 Art Shows Open Mid-October

The Linden Endowment of the Arts is an official Linden Community Partnership program whose purpose is to help new artists, cultivate art in SL, and foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration within the art community.

The Linden Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce four art shows opening in mid-October:

On LEA1: The 2011 Survey of Hyperformalists in Second Life, curated by DC Spensley AKA DanCoyote

Opening October 15

The Museum of Hyperformalism, founded in 2006, to promote the unique genre of metasculptural abstraction in simulated space.

featuring the metasculptural artwork of:

Josina Burgess

Oberon Onmura

Ray FX

Sabine Stonebender

Selavy Oh

Suzanne Graves

Velasquez Bonetto

On LEA2: The Path, curated by Bryn Oh

Opening October 14

Based off the Surrealists exquisite corpse concept, each artist was randomly given a scene to compose. A narrative is begun by artist one who then passes it on to artist number two. Artist two adds to the story and passes it on to three and so on until the narrative reaches its conclusion at artist number eight.

Artists in order by scene

1-Bryn Oh

2-Colin Fizgig

3-Marcus Inkpen

4-Desdemona Enfield / Douglas Story

5-Maya Paris

6-Claudia222 Jewell

7-Scottius Polke

8-Rose Borchovski

On LEA3: FAST ART: Competitive Build Improvisation In The Virtual World, hosted by Solo Mornington

A series of speed build competitions, until the sim is full.

Twice-weekly events, with a number of options for artists in all time zones.

On LEA4: Interact!, curated by L1Aura Loire/Lori Landay

Opening October 15

Virtual art can invite, or even insist, that you interact with it. The artists in this exhibition cleverly and creatively make art out of interactions between data, objects, actions, and people within and beyond the virtual world in a stunning array of installations and experiences that stretch the possibilities of virtual art. Expect the unexpected, and click whenever you can. #interactLEA

Installations by:

Eupalinos Ugajin

Glyph Graves

Lorin Tone

Maya Paris

Misprint Thursday

PinkPink Sorbet

Selavy Oh

Interactive environment for audience participation & interactive mixed reality cross-cultural performances by: Butler2 Evelyn/Senses Places

With: Mesh by Sage Duncan, Machinima Mutoscope Viewers by FreeWee Ling, Twitter Garden by Frans Charming, Inner Tube Ride of Your Life by UzzU Artful

All four art shows will run for three months.

Also, on LEA6, ongoing, monthly, the LEA Full Sim Art Series

and the first Wednesday of each month, 7 pm SLT, at the LEA Theater, the Month of Machinima Screening Event, with conversations about the films with L1Aura Loire & the filmmakers

Check back here for more information about opening events, schedules for LEA3 speed builds, performances, and more . . . including some big news from the LEA.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thinking about Virtual Art: One and Four Ways

I've been thinking a lot about virtual art, about art in virtual worlds, between teaching about it, making it, being a member of the Linden Endowment for the Arts Committee, and working on a paper and presentation for the Media in Transition 7 Unstable Platforms: The Promise and Peril of Transition conference at MIT. The paper ended up growing beyond a conference paper, the seed of a major project for me, and I focused on virtual art for the presentation. (Presentation I gave at the conference is here, the part of the paper about art is here, and the bigger paper is here. Both papers are PDF files and take a little while to load.)

As I often do, I made something while I thought about my ideas, or maybe I thought about the concepts while I made something: "One and Four Timeboards."

This piece, offered tongue in cheek, takes an imaginary object, a prop from my machinima "Time Journey," and installs it according to the instructions for Joseph Kosuth's "One and Three Chairs." Kosuth certainly was not the first one, in 1965, to destabilize the meaning of the object in the gallery, but his piece was part of the crystallization around Conceptual Art that called those categories into question, and emphasized process and transition, in both art-making and meaning-making.

Plus, because we are in a virtual world, there is more. Click on the timeboard. Your experience suggests a fourth aspect to add to the object, image, and word to which Kosuth called attention in 1965.

The piece is one of the ideas I have for installations that connect "art" and machinima in virtual worlds. More of these from me in the future, especially around the time travel idea.

Slurl to teleport to the piece at UWA in Second Life:

AND, when I went over to Cyland to install "One and Four Timeboards" in the virtual FutureFluxus exhibit, where I'll add an audio dimension (the piece should evolve each time, I think), I got completely sidetracked by the Carrot teeter-totter Man Michinaga has there. But the timeboards will be there soon. For more on FutureFluxus, see:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Visualizing Theorem: New Virtual Art Exhibit (with Catalog Foreward by me!)

Visualizing Theorem is a group show in Second Life that is international, transdisciplinary, multi-media, and interartistic, drawing on tracks from a music album, Theorem, (itself inspired by math and science concepts), as a starting point for each virtual art piece. I was pleased to write the foreword to the catalog for this excellent exhibit.

Visualizing Theorem Catalog--and the catalog itself is a cool object here on the web. There is a slider bar across the top after you click to see it bigger that makes the text larger or smaller.

And here is the SLurl to the virtual location of the exhibit in Second Life.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Basic Viewer for Virtual World Second Life: Video Glimpse

There is a new easy-to-use viewer--the program you use to access a virtual world--for Second Life. This means that a person can get going in a virtual world faster. Once you're comfortable, you can move up to the other viewer and learn some more functions. I think this is an excellent development, and so I made a quick, hopefully fun machinima video that shows the features of the new viewer that people can use for their students, friends, or anyone. It takes advantage of one of the amazing things about machinima (or the moving image in general): the ability to be able to show people what you have experienced or seen that they have not without them doing it themselves--yet!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

IceOpal: A Virtual Interpretation of Amy Lowell's Poem, "Opal"

My virtual art piece, "IceOpal: A Virtual Interpretation of Amy Lowell's Poem 'Opal," is at the University of Western Australia's monthly 3D Art Challenge in the virtual world Second Life, along with 70 or so other entries. The UWA art sims are the happening places in Second Life these days, with the most interesting art and artists converging on them. There is a sim where the past monthly winners are on display for the year, as well, so it is a terrific place to see some of the best virtual art (although it certainly is not an exhaustive collection, and pieces are limited to 100 prims, so are small-ish in scale in that way, and do not include performance art, or the performing arts). Some pieces (including mine) have sound and also machinima or video.

Above are some still images of the scultpure, and here is the machinima that plays on the little sphere in front of the big sphere, but the video does not include the sound that an avatar hears within the sphere, other than the music in the video itself.

Slurl in Second Life, only for a few more days!



Sound in machinima: The music was created with rjdj's reactive music app for iPhone, which turned my recording of icicles dripping into music. You can hear the icicle drip sounds recorded at Drumlin Farm Audubon Sanctuary at the end of the video.


Disclaimer: Not responsible for damage caused by falling icicles, cloudy vision, slippery situations, or irresolvable paradoxes of the heart or mind.


You are ice and fire,
The touch of you burns my hands like snow.
You are cold and flame.
You are the crimson of amaryllis,
The silver of moon-touched magnolias.
When I am with you,
My heart is a frozen pond
Gleaming with agitated torches.

Amy Lowell, 1919

Ice Textures: SkyBeam Designs
Flower Textures: from photographs by L1Aura Loire
Freeze & Melt poses by L1Aura Loire

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

OPEN END: A Digital Silent Film Screwball Comedy about Irresolution

Ta-DA!! At long last, here is the screwball comedy! Yes, I started it so long ago I don't want to say! It ain't called "about irresolution" for nuthin'.

OPEN END: A Digital Silent Film Screwball Comedy about Irresolution

When a distracted woman and her pink leopard crash their hot air balloon into a handsome rogue who is just minding his own business . . . well, you know how it will end. Or do you??

If you're a film buff, this machinima movie (digital video captured in a virtual world or other 3-d game environment) may very well entertain and delight. And if you like seeing people and a pink leopard chase each other, you will like it, too.

Written, directed, filmed in the virtual world Second Life, and edited by Lori Landay (L1Aura Loire). Starring KinoEye Galaxy, Mildly Nefarious, and L1Leopard Warrhol. With Arrow Inglewood, Kristine Kristan, L1Aura Loire, Maya Paris, Misprint Thursday, and Quixote Berwick. Original piano score composed and performed by Dan Gross,


The music is by Dan Gross, one of my former Film Scoring students. One day in The Language of Film, the sound wasn't working on the videotape of The Great Train Robbery. I asked if anyone wanted to try to accompany the film on the piano (every Berklee classroom has a piano, you know), and Dan stepped up. At that moment, he discovered something he really enjoyed, and is extremely good at, and went on to accompany silent films live at the Harvard Film Archive and in Los Angeles. You'll hear what I mean about his affinity for interpreting the visual story in his music, in his touch on the piano keys, in the piece he wrote and performed for the film.

You can also watch on vimeo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Various Updates

As is often the case, the blog action is over at the blogs for the courses I'm teaching this semester. I've got Digital Narrative Theory and Practice again, very exciting, and it is now required for two new interdisciplinary minors, Visual Culture and Interactive Media Studies, and Video Game Scoring. The students are smart and focused, and I can't wait to see the cut scene or game projects they create by the end of the semester that explore the concepts we will encounter between now and then. I don't have a blog for The Language of Film, a Film Studies course I teach in the Film Scoring department; maybe someday. And the new course I have is one of the most exciting projects I've ever worked on, a seminar called "What Is Being?" It's the product of a National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions grant, and plays off of the Berklee motto, "to be, rather than to seem," an interesting proposition in any age, but especially in our time of increasingly convincing illusion, and for our musician-students, in light of performance, both on stage and in every day life. The students in that seminar blew me away in our first full meeting last week, maybe profound connections between Cicero's essay "On Friendship" (the origin of our being/seeming motto) and questions about friendship in contemporary life, some unchanged from Cicero's time, and some quite new in the age of the facebook "friend."

I've been working slowly on an OpenSim region on the Education Grid, and that is exciting, but also makes me really appreciate all the content available in Second Life. I joined Pathfinder's Hypergrid Adventurer's Club and look forward to my virtual metaverse experience continuing to expand across the grids, and I've been nosing around on Craft, Jokaydia, and other places. All very interesting, and I do indeed feel like a pioneer. I continue to build, make virtual art installations, collaborate, and make machinima in Second Life as well. My Domestic Technology or, Never Alone installation is still up at the inworld Cyberfest, so check that out if you haven't, and I hope to have some new interactive sculpture sometime soon.